The wind started late in the day, wild and smelling of the sea, though we are miles inland. We walked in it, reveling in the warm power. It was exhilarating.
At midnight we went out again to smell it, to feel it's warmth push against us in the cool night. Gusts pushed in against the windows, rattling the blinds. We left the windows open to let it in.
I lay in bed listening. Like the distant ocean that sent it always changing, shifting, swirling, in new directions at every breath it blew around us. I feared the wind, it's whisper, "Change is coming, change is coming."
"I'm not ready for change," I thought. "I'm just getting to know this place I am in."
I thought the change was one that we have been discussing, another move, a new direction. I finally fell asleep to the restless shifting of the Santa Ana.
This morning, 7am, two babies asleep on me and the doorbell won't stop ringing. It is the wind, so strong it' s ringing all our bells. There is a large tree down in our parking lot, they are cutting it to move out of the way. The tree right beside us has dropped a big branch. I drift back to sleep.
The phone rings. Pulling me from restless slumber. Do I know that the county is on fire?
I look out at the sky, the sun glows neon orange through the thick haze of smoke. We start packing. I want the photo albums, and my computer, water and food. The thick air makes us cough now, and ash gets in my eyes. The Baby is crying. I remember the Boy's birthday party is tomorrow and pack the presents, and the soup I've been making. He wanted chicken noodle. We stop for gas, and cake ingredients and head to where the sky is clear and we can see the sun.
Now we sit, fire on every side of us, burning down the valleys and canyons, if it jumps the freeway to our valley than we will have to leave too. The wind keeps changing, spinning in huge circles, confounding firefighters and planners alike. Most of our friends have already left their homes behind. Seventy homes in our town have burned down since this morning. I wish I had taken out that renter's insurance policy I was indecisive about.
I am going to make chocolate cake. I promised. Unless we are evacuated the Boy will have his party tomorrow. We will sleep here tonight at Beema's house while the fire keeps burning.
All that is left to do is wait. They will tell us if we need to leave.
And celebrate the Boy's 6th birthday.